The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman on season 5 and beyond

News Louisa Mellor 27 Jun 2014 - 07:15

The Walking Dead comic creator, Robert Kirkman, has been chatting about plans for season 5 and further beyond...

Warning: contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season four.

Answers, and lots of them. That's what The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman tells viewers to expect from the show's season five premiere. "Oh, and Daryl dies", adds the executive producer cheekily, no doubt aware of the popular "Daryl dies, we riot" campaign to keep a certain Mr Dixon alive and well on the show.

In conversation with EW, Kirkman explained, "In our premiere episode of season five we’re going to give a ton of answers of who the people of Terminus are, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, what’s going on with them. And by the end of that episode you’re going to have a much better understanding of what’s going on with them and why they’re so important to the show."

So they escape the train car sharpish then? "They definitely get out of that train car. They do not spend the entirety of season five in that train car. It is through ingenuity and creativity and somewhat savageness that they are able to make their way out of that train car." 

After they've got out of the train car, how long a future does Kirkman envisage the show to have? "We're not stopping", he assures fans. "I’m still doing the comic and plan in doing it for many, many years. And right now the issues that we are doing as we speak is material that could be adapted into a season ten, eleven, or twelve depending on how we adapt things. So five years for now we’ll be doing comics that could be for season fifteen. Now, it’s unrealistic to think it can go for that long, but if the show remains successful, the potential is there for that…. All that said, I’m just hoping and praying we make it to season seven.” 

Entertainment Weekly

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As long as it's popular they should keep it going. There's no reason to end it basically ever, and a show like this can always add new people and even the lead actors gradually.

While I agree it makes sense to continue while the quality remains high, my biggest concern about TWD is that there is no 'ending' in mind. The comics have no ending - they're episodic. And that means the TV series is too - it's not building to a conclusion. So it's a soap opera like Eastenders or Coronation Street in a way, if you'll excuse the crude analogy. I'd prefer it if they said 'we're doing ten seasons, and then we're going to wrap it up'. That way you keep the main core of actors until the end and start laying the groundwork for the show finale and give the whole programme a good arc, rather than just ticking along until the quality dips and the viewers tail off and then it's cancelled.

I've been reading the comic since issue one. In the first TPB the foreword explained his vision for a zombie saga that never ended; 11 years ago I was totally for that plan. 11 years later and 128 issues in and I'm not so enthusiastic any more.
Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the series so far. I just feel that Kirkman is beginning to run out of ideas. The prospect of TWD reaching issue 200 and beyond doesn't particularly thrill me. I would much prefer it if Kirkman made some seriously drastic changes to the series (kill off Rick!), hand over the series to another writer (Remender, Aaron, Lapham, or even Hickman with his talent for seriously long form arcs) or just end it.
As for the TV series, I've enjoyed it to some extent. Its one of the most overrated and inconsistent series that's ever graced our screens but its been enjoyably distracting. However, no series should ever go on 'forever'.

I wouldn't be surprised if the comic skipped a few years at some point. On a recent interview on the Kevin & Bean show he mentioned something about having some sort of mapped endpoint. It was an of the cuff remark and they didn't press him on it so I don't know how much to read into that but it would make sense to end it or suspend it a while. In the original interview I think he said that the current comic story might be series 10/11 of the tv series as well so they obviously have a game plan for the tv show. At the end of the day, if the quality drops in both the comic or tv show then I think he would be gutted.

"They do not spend the entirety of season five in that train car."
Considering how slowly a lot of US shows seem to be moving lately I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

I certainly admire Kirkman's ambition in creating such a long-spanning zombie survival saga and for the most part I think it has worked. I admit, I felt like the comics reached a natural conclusion at around the 9th/10th TPB and it dragged on for a bit but this current storyline with Negan and his Sanctuary has had me hooked again. However it's only treading the same ground as the Governor storyline and there's only so much you can do after so long. I mean, are we just going to keep going until the zombies are all so decomposed that they're no longer a threat?

And as for the TV show I still can't quite believe how inconsistent it is. Season 4 was the only one I've watched where I loved every episode while previous seasons seem happy to just ramble on without much overall story progress. 16 episodes feels far too long - 12 should easily be sufficient but the writing has seemed all over the place up until recently. The characters aren't as well rounded as their comic counterparts either/ And same problem as the comics - eventually it will either come to a natural conclusion (safely ever after or death) or just decline until the publishers/execs pull the plug.

Totally agree. It seems like the perfect idea until you think it through but it seems Kirkman has found this comfortable loop of "Find new place, fight to secure it, somebody else wants it, fight for it, lose, repeat." I felt like they were building Carl up to replace Rick a long time ago but it never happened.

Yeah thats exactly it! Exactly the formula he seems to using over and over again. I suspect the TV will also fall into this trap if it goes on too long. I also assumed Carl would replace Rick; actually hoped. Carl as a replacement focal point would be great. Change the protagonist and hand over the series, only way it will regain some of its momentum at this point.

I actually thought the TV show's idea of the flu virus spreading through the camp was a great plot to go down as that's the sort of everyday danger that probably would be an issue in that situation. Without medicine, even small bugs are deadly. But then it ended up being just a bit of filler while the Governor regrouped.

I wonder if perhaps the show will be brave enough to kill Rick off. It's fair to say that he is the absolute lead in the comics so it's hard to imagine it without him. The TV show on the other hand has him playing much smaller roles in comparison. Apart from the big showdowns of course.

The flu arc was one of the best plot lines they have had so far. I really enjoyed how it highlighted an issue that is glossed over in a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction/tv/films. Disease would become a HUGE issue. Of course I too was was hugely disappointed when they pretty much dismissed it after a brief time.

I imagine with Kirkman's grubby little fingers present in the Walking Dead TV it would be a stretch to hope that is where they are heading, but Rick dying would be excellent. It would be great to see how Carl would handle that in the show; also to see how the group as a whole would survive. I hope the show can become a little more brave; only time will tell.

I've not disliked the series by any means, I'm just not as impressed as I had hoped I would be. I've loved post-apocalyptic fiction and Zombie films for a long long time so my hopes were maybe a little too high. In terms of post-apocalyptic series Jericho was far more impressive. I would even go so far as to say The 100 has been more impressive than TWD so far.

I think when Robert Kirkman lands a good story arc, he nails it. Like the serial killer at the prison where everyone thought it was one guy and it turned out to be another - brilliant story in the comics but I guess it was too dark for the AMC censors. I was disappointed that they didn't include the Wiltshire Estates scene in the show - that could have been a great one-off episode at the start of S2 but instead we meandered through the Sophie storyline. Sure, they included it further down the line, but it was Wiltshire in name only, none of that awesome "snow covering the warning sign" bit.

But that basically sums up my feeling about the show; it misses out so much cool stuff from the comics and when it does use the subject material it falls a little flat. At this point the show is better when it does its own thing. Obviously the Governor was an important part of the comics but now they've got that over with I want to see what happens in an alternative story rather than retread the cannibals (if that's what Terminus is) and eventually the Hilltop/Negan arc.

I could get behind a time jump, I hope there's some truth to the comments.

I'd like to see a resolution at some point; how and why it started, can it be cured or eradicated, how much of the earth is affected etc. Imean, let's face it, it's about a bunch of hicks who haven't even bothered to leave the state!

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